Wednesday, 28 December 2011

University E-card.

I've just been looking through some of my files and found all of the drawings I did whilst working on an animation, I was getting ready to post them up here when I realise I hadn't poster the actual animation, so here it is!



My University asked me to make the animation for them to use as a Christmas e-card that they would send out to there associates and such, which is pretty cool.

All of the art was done by hand, and was edited in Photoshop to be animated in Flash and a little bit of After Effects.
Below you can see a big list of all the original drawings I did for the animation before I edited them in any way. (meaning they still include all the little bits where I went wrong)

It took up 16 pages of a descent sized square sketchbook.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas Holidays

So I haven't really written a blog post in quite a while, or even uploaded much for quite a while now.
Basically, the last few weeks of University have been keeping me pretty busy, and plenty stressed out.

It's been a practical avalanche of deadlines and I was pretty unprepared for it.

I got through it though, and I have a few weeks pretty much free now, which is nice.

I still have a bit of University work to be done, but I can really relax a lot more now than I've been able to do any time lately.

So, I'm finally going to be playing a lot of the game's I've yet to complete, watch plenty of films and hopefully get some good progress made on a few personal projects.

I'm a good 20+ hours in to Skyrim and still going strong, so I'll undoubtedly be playing that plenty, and I am very close to getting the platinum on Rayman Origins which is by far my favourite game of 2011.

I also have a hell of a lot of PSN games to play through since Sony have been giving out plenty free for Christmas. (me and my dad are having a Plants vs Zombies completion battle)

And of course, Christmas is just around the corner, so who know's what new things could crop up that will nibble away at my time like a ravenous time-hungry hamster.
Thursday, 24 November 2011

Werewolf Tumblr.

I finally went and got myself a Tumblr account.
I've been meaning to make one for a while, but just never got around to it.
All I'm putting on it is random drawings without really bothering to type much, so I can just post them as soon as I can unlike this site where I tend to save pictures until I have a descent amount to show, and quite often forget to add a few I did less recently.

At the moment, it is mostly images of a character I have recently started drawing called Carlyle the werewolf.
I randomly came up with him a few days ago and have been really enjoying drawing him since.






As an extra, heres a drawing of BigFoot I coloured with watercolours too.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Thought Bubble 2011

Thought Bubble, the wonderful big comic festival that happens in a city not too far away from where I live, has been going on this past week, and unlike last year I managed to stop bye and have a look!
I was a little worried I was going to miss out again, but my grant money finally came through a few days before! (it was only a few months late...)

There were quite a few artists there that I'm a huge fan of, and I'm incredibly pleased I got the chance to meet them!

Thought Bubble 7: I.N.J Culbard

The first person I met was the man behind the graphic novel adaptation of one of my all time favourite novels, At the Mountains of Madness by H.P Lovecraft.
I.N.J Culbart is a fantastic artist, and really seems to know what he is doing when it comes to converting classic tales into a comic format.
I asked him to sign my copy of the book and he was more than happy to oblige, not only that, he drew a frickin' amazing Cthulhu in there too! (which I managed to film for a little bit)



After that I got a chance to talk to Paul Duffield, the artist behind the amazing (and unfortunately now concluded) webcomic FreakAngels.

Thought Bubble 8: Paul Duffield

Unfortunately I didn't have anything of his I could get him to sign, but talking to him alone was amazing enough!
He really was a remarkably kind man, and he seemed very excited about his upcoming projects now that FreakAngels is over!
Thought Bubble 6: Paul Duffield

Next, I worked my way over to a table belonging to one Dan Berry!
I found out about Dan from listening to the Tim and Simon's Brain Spill podcast, and have since fallen in love with his work!
I've been really eager to get my hands on one of his comics, and finally had my chance!
Once again he was incredibly nice and did me a drawing inside that I managed to get a sneaky video of!
The comic I bought, After We Shot The Grizzly, is amazing too!
His art really is wonderful, and I'm regretting that I couldn't go back today and buy more!


Another man I got to meet when I was there was Antony Johnston, the writer for many things, including what is one of my favourite comic series, Wasteland!
He also wrote the fantastic video game Dead Space: Extraction as well as the comics and graphic novels based in the Dead Space universe (one of which I had him sign for me).
I would have preferred have him sign a copy of Wasteland for me, but I have the Apocalypse editions which are pretty darn big...

Thought Bubble 9: Antony Johnston

I had also been hoping to meet Ben Templesmith and Simone Lia, but unfortunately Templesmith couldn't make it to the con and Lia was exploring the con when I stopped by the table she would be at, but hopefully I'll have another chance to meet them some time in the future!

After meeting all the artists I had written down I just started to explore and came across quite a a few interesting tables, met quite a few interesting and bought quite a few lovely comics!


I recognised a few pieces of art from the Thought Bubble website that I had really liked, discovered the wonderful artist Joe List, and proceeded to purchase a comic form him.
I really like his art style, and he seems to do a lot of something I have been wanting to try out myself for a while, drawing characters in to photos and having them interact with the environment.
I also bought a very beautifully illustrated comic called Jellyfish Prince.
The only name the comic gives in Naniiebim, which upon googling I found was a deviantart page belonging to the artist!
Lastly I bought an awesome little comic about a Ninja Bunny!
I bought a book from the same artist a few years ago and the amount the art has improved since then is amazing!

That was all for me at Thought Bubble this year.
I took a few photos, but not too many as I didn't want to get in everybody's way in what was already a very crowded hall, but those I did take you can see on my Flickr account here!

All in all, very good time!
I really wish I had more opportunities to go to comic conventions like that, as I always enjoy the chance to see comics that I would never have heard of otherwise.
Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Back to the BigFoot

In a few weeks I will be off to the Thought Bubble comic convention in Leeds.
I've been two times before, but missed out on it last year.
Looking about online I found out they had started a yearly sequential arts competition, so I knew I had to get something done for that!
I only found out the day before the deadline though, so I've pretty much spent the last two days working to get something made.


I ended up making this comic about BigFoot!
I really wish I could have more time to work on it and get a bit more detail and overall quality worked in there, but I dont think its too shabby for the time constraints I was working with!

Also, heres a drawing of Marty McFly.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Calvin and Hobbes

My birthday is coming up on the 23rd, and I got my first early present today!

Some of my lovely, lovely, LOVELY, friends worked together to get me The Complete Calvin and Hobbes box set that I have been lusting after for some time now.


I adore Calvin and Hobbes, and have wanted the opportunity to read the comics in print rather than digitally for some time. (Calvin and Hobbes aren't as big in the UK as they are in America, so I've personally never seen any of there books before.)


Suffice it to say, I was very surprised, and very pleased when I realised what it was!

I knew the books were big, measuring in at 1456 pages between the 3 books, but I didn't realise quite how big the books themselves were too!


The whole set must weigh more than your average bowling ball, and  it did not do my shoulders any favours carrying it home!
I still love it though, and I wish so very, very much that I had my own Hobbes~

Monday, 17 October 2011

Godzilla Campbell

Recently the topic of animated comics and images has come up in Uni, and it has been quite a few years since I would sit making (rather poor) animated comics.
I was also talking to a friend on msn who said I should draw Godzilla, so I mixed the two together!

Animated Godzilla

I forgot quite how fun it can be to make these funky little animated pictures, so I might make more some time!

On a side-note, I have recently discovered and subsequently fallen in love with the art of Scott Campbell.


I absolutely adore his style, and it's making me really want to try out watercolours again seeing as I stopped using them a few years ago.
He's just released an art book that I really want, but it was sold out before it was even released!

I still have no money too, that doesn't help.
Uni is really being ridiculous with how long it's taking to get my grant money.
Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Funky Blobbies and Guilty Art.


The other day (I think it was Friday last week, but I can't remember for sure...) our class went up to this funked up art exhibit.
It took us a while to work out what the hell was going on.


In the middle of the room was just this random printer that didn't seem to be doing anything, then all of a sudden it turned on and started printing out what looked like ascii drawings of circles.


Then there were two projectors on either side of the room, one of which looked like some funky predator style sci-fi vision, which turned out to be some kind of motion-tracker thing?
There was a camera set up un a different part of the University that it was coming from, and the shapes on the screen were people in the area.
All the red text tells you how long each blobby has been on the screen for and such.


After we found that out, well of course we needed a photo of ourselves as blobby things, so we lovingly abandoned our lovely friend Carl and stood infront of the camera for about 15 minutes trying to work out if we were on the screen or not.

And here we are!
The two blobs close together are Zara and Alison, the one rather away was me walking back and forth so Carl could find us.


It was a pretty funky exhibit, but I must admit, its one of those artsy things that makes me feel a little guilty in that I dont really get much out of these kind of art pieces, and would be much better and sitting and staring and a drawing of an irritated badger for 20 minutes.
Monday, 10 October 2011

Secret Rocket Animation!

I gots me another lovely video up on the internets!
More practice with After Effects too!
This one caused me a bit of bother when it came to exporting, as After Effects really did not like my sound effects.

It's all working now though, so can't complain.
Just more things to keep in mind next time I make a video!


I really am enjoying using After Effects,  and just making animation in general.
I really hope my grant money comes through soon so I can get what I need to animate in flash, I think I could make some pretty interesting stuff by mixing the two together!
Sunday, 9 October 2011

After Effects Colossus

I cant seem to remember if I have previously mentioned on this here blog, but lately I have been teaching myself to use After Effects.
It's something I have wanted to learn for a while now, but could never seem to find the time for.
As I'm planning to do a lot more animation starting this year of Uni it seems a better time than ever to get going at it.
I've already put a few silly little things on my YouTube (my friends blowing up and such) and I've just finished my first proper (if small) attempt at animating anything in the programme.

I got the Ico & Shadow of the Colossus HD collection the other day.
They have been two of my favourite games ever since Shadow of the Colossus first came out in 2006, so I was really looking forward to playing through them again.
I completed Shadow of the Colossus a few days ago, so I felt like doing something with one of them.


Now I'm working on something a little more intricate, playing with a few new tricks and techniques.
I'm trying to learn a little at a time rather than dump too much on in one go, but I feel I'm making really good progress.
Heres a little snippet of the one I'm working on right now, which should be finished in a few days!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Old Man Lemur Doodles.

 I love Lemurs, there one of my favourite animals.
I've always been a liiiittle bit rubbish at drawing animals though.
That didn't stop me drawing this rubbish lemur!

I'm much better at drawing creepy old men.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Balloon message and Haiku!


A few days ago in university we had a helium balloon from some kind of charity festival they were having in town.
After playing with it for a while, somebody had the lovely idea of attaching a note to it and setting it free!
Zara wrote a note on a piece of paper and did a drawing of a bunny and we let the balloon free out of a window!

We put an email address on the note, so were really hoping that we can eventually get a response from somebody and learn how far it got!

Balloon with a note.
A message in a bottle,
but it's for the sky!


Macbook Drawing Studies!

This, is my most lovely new Macbook Pro!
For the longest time I have been a pc man, but a little while ago something strange seems to have come over me and I suddenly realised I wanted a Mac.


It's freaki'n byawtiful*!

*stupid way of spelling beautiful.

University is all going lovely so far, this year we've been given a lot more choices that are allowing me to concentrate on what I personally want to do rather than being forced in to learning things I have no interest in.

In the first year we spent half of our time learning Digital, Photoshop, Illustrator and that sort of stuff, and the other half learning Printmaking and Typography.
None of those were things I was particularly interested in.

I feel I already know more than enough on using various programmes and I really didn't feel as though I was learning much new.

As for digital and type, I can appreciate the skill that is required to create those pieces of artwork, but they are just not for me.
I found very, very little of it at all enjoyable and pretty much loathed my time working there.

This year we have been given an option to take Drawing Studies, in which a lovely tutor I have never had before called Helen is helping us improve our drawing skills in many different ways.

We've only had two lessons with her so far but I am absolutely loving my time in her class.
It feels really good to have a teacher that solely wants to help me develop my own style when I feel a lot of my other tutors are somewhat pressuring me to move more towards other mediums I have little to no interest in.
It also feels really good to draw a model again too, since it must be over a year now since I did life drawing in college, and I really have missed it.

We haven't really got many projects going just yet.
Everything seems to have been very laid back these first two weeks.


For the time being I'm just biding my time until my grant money comes through and I can order the things I need to get on with my animation!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Hospital for Laptops.

Unfortunately my most beloved, if not a little unstable, laptop has fallen ill.
For about a month or two now there's been something a little off with the screen, and a few days ago it decided it had enough and completely gave up on me, so I've been without a proper computer for a little while.

My laptop is now over at the computer hospital having surgery done, and I have no idea when I will be getting it back.
Shouldn't be too long though.

Until then I'm stuck with a very, very, old laptop my dad had a good few years ago. (I think he got it when Windows XP was still fairly young...)

This laptop lets me go on the internet so I can manage to check my email and check all my daily websites and such, but it isn't really up to much else, so I wont be able to get any real work done until I get my laptop back.

I can draw, but I have no way to scan and upload the drawings I do.

So I'm a little lost without my laptop, and until I get it back there will be no more drawings to upload, or progress made on my games...

Fun times...
Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Marble Hornets Desktop

For those who don't already do so, you should watch Marble Hornets.
It's an amazing horror show on YouTube about the Slender Man and it is genuinely one of the better horror shows/films I have seen in a long time.
It's been going for quite some time now and there's a lot of goodness there for people who haven't seen it before!

I'm just making this post so so I have a place to put this desktop background I made from the latest episode.


Seriously though, everybody should watch Marble Hornets.
Monday, 5 September 2011

Platformer Progress!


I have made a few decisions about the platformer I am working on, in terms of elements I want to experiment with.

I think that I have got a good grasp of building the gameplay much quicker than I expected, and at this point it is seeming almost easy, though I still do have my limitations.

What this means however, is that I feel I can experiment a little more with some things I was considering putting off for a later game.

I have already stated that I don't want to put a huge amount of detail in to the story this time around, but I do think it would be good to experiment with what I can put in to the game.

I have spent many years of my life studying animation, and I am interested to see how well I can implement animations in to the games I make, maybe as cut-scenes of some kind.

If I can pull it off in some way, I find the possibilities for having animated sections in future games could be very exciting!

I am going to do a few tests and see how things turn out, and hopefully all will go as smoothly as the rest of the game has been going so far!

p.s: I'm still stuck on a name for the small character you play as...
I'm thinking maybe Pip?

Effective Horror Webcomic

I have been a huge fan of Horror for a long time now, but very few things really scare me.

Many things make me jump, but I'm one of those people that don't consider a jump to be a real scare.
I love films and games that get you paranoid.
Where you have a real sense of dread as you continue to watch/play.

I really believe that the very best horror is achieved when you take full advantage of the medium you are using to create a sense of unease within the one experiencing it.

It is very common knowledge that H.P.Lovecraft wrote very few details, at least for the most part, on the creatures in his books.
We very rarely had a good understanding of what they looked like, and even less often did we understand them or there motives.
And though it seems to have been somewhat of a joke that you never know what Lovecraftian monsters really look like, it is that very element that makes his books so effective as horrors.
The fear gained from reading his books doesn't come from the knowledge that there is a monster there doing horrible things.
It is the lack of knowledge about what the monster is, and why it is doing said horrible things.
This is something that can not be achieved so effectively in any medium other than written books.
The lack of any visual aid means that your mind has to fill the gaps, and it does so with something much more personal and much more tailored to your own dislikes and fears.
For this reason, Lovecraftian games, comics or films will never truly capture the same feel as the original books.
At least, it would take an incredibly clever man to pull it off.

A lot of games make good use of the medium to create a sense of dread within the player.
The often mentioned Eternal Darkness is a brilliant example, using fake glitches and other similar things that could only occur within a video game to create a sense of unease.
Many horror games try and put a lot of detail in to getting you to forget you are playing a game.
Sometimes its best to do the complete opposite, to make it very obvious to the player that they are playing a game, and then to use that to your advantage.
A more recent example of this, and one that took me by surprise, was Batman Arkham Asylum which I played through recently.
There is a section part way through the game where Batman is being effected by Scarecrow's fear gas, and it seems as though the game has crashed and re-started.
This comes out of nowhere and is an incredibly good example of taking advantage of the medium to create an effective horror atmosphere.

For a long time I have been wanting to see a really effective horror comic, as comics and graphic novels are another passion of mine, but I have never read a horror comic that really gained my attention, or even registered as a horror to me.

Today my friend linked me to a webcomic, that is the first example of using the given medium to take advantage of the reader.

Please do follow the link and read the comic before continuing to read this post:
http://comic.naver.com/webtoon/detail.nhn?titleId=350217&no=20&weekday=tue

Webcomic's are really a very unique, and relatively un-tampered media.
There are a lot of possibilities that have yet to be attempted or even conceived yet, and that could lead to many very effective horror elements.

As a comic is traditionally still images, or "Sequential Art", adding completely unexpected animated elements, especially with audio, is an excellent way to create a sense of unease in the reader.
It breaks the rules of a comic, adding elements that aren't traditionally supposed to be there.

I really wish that I could understand this comic, as I would love to read it.
But for now I am just happy to know that somebody is really making good use of the medium.

I hope that I get to see many more unique and interesting ways of taking advantages of comics to create effective horror similar to this in the future.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

My Platformer!

Here are a few screenshot's of the game I'm working on at the moment!


As some of you may know, I have a real passion for storytelling, as well as illustration and animation.

As gaming is easily my most beloved medium it has long been my dream to tell a story of my own through games, and as you can see, Quong did little to scratch that particular itch.

This new game is inching me closer to that goal!


This new game, currently un-named, is a platformer!
And it will have a story, though not much of one.

My main goal at the moment is plainly learning what I can do with my limited abilities, seeing what is possible and finding new ways to create fun and interesting gameplay, so the storytelling element will have to suffer slightly until I have a firm grounding with what I'm doing.
I can however dip my toes in a bit, not only with storytelling but with the illustration and animation side this time around.
Pretty much all of the movements in Quong were programmed, and there was nothing much to illustrate.


I've had a few people test out the first few levels and so far they all seemed to really enjoy it!

One thing in particular seems to be all of them were very fond of the player character, who I'm still debating over in terms of names.


I think before I finish the full game I may actually release a sample, or demo, so that I can get a few more opinions and have a chance to tweak a little bit before I release the finished game.

This is all probably getting a bit ahead of myself, there is still a lot of work to get done before I even think about releasing it, but I hope everyone likes the look of the game so far and will check it out when its done!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Quong!

So for a little while now I've been teaching myself how to make games.
I've always been able to make fairly simple flash games, but gaming is a true passion of mine and its something I've always wanted to explore more.
Unfortunately I am absolutely dreadful at coding.

In any case, I've been experimenting and I have just finished my first ever non-flash game!

The game is called Quong, and its fairly simple in premise.
The game is similar to Pong.
You control 4 paddles, one on each side of the screen, with a ball bouncing in the middle.
You control the movements of the paddles with your mouse, and each time you hit the ball you gain a point.
Each time the ball leaves the screen you lose a life.
Each 25 points a new ball is added until your juggling 4 balls at once.
I think the game is quite addicting!
It's definitely a good way to waste a little bit of time!

If you want to download the game, just click the "Quong" button at the top of the screen, or click right here!

Any comments would be greatly appreciated!
You can leave a comment on the game's page, on this post or contact me via twitter!
You can also email me at Ben@MindDump.co.uk!

Have fun Quonging!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

I have an inkling the Inkling will be freaki'n amazing!

This, is the Wacom Inkling.
And it is my messiah.
I just found out about this now, (I think it was announced earlier today or yesterday? I'm not 100% sure) and it is quite possibly in league with the PS Vita in terms of my excitement.
I can not even express how much I want this beautiful little machine...

I have mentioned a few times in the past, that my scanner/printer is freaking horrendous.
Whenever I scan in an image it just doesn't look right and I have to spend ages fiddling in Photoshop to get them to look right.
I also always want to take my tablet in to University, but I have Cintiq which is quite a hefty piece of equipment, and its DAMN expensive.
The town my University is in isn't exactly the best place to be carrying around hefty expensive stuff.

I've also just started experimenting with vector art a bit, (which I really should have made a post about yesterday, but I forgot... WHOOPS!) and having a vector file of pretty much everything I draw would be brilliant!

Needless to say, I am very excited about the Inkling, and I really hope to get my hands on one!
They come out in the UK next month, so I might just have to see how much money I can bare to extract from my bank account at the time.

If not, my birthday is in October, so I guess I can do some begging.
Friday, 26 August 2011

Doodle Drama

Smokey bacon, get it?
It has been a little while since I last updated.
I have found myself pretty busy, for a number of different reasons, lately.
First of all, me and a few of my friends have started ourselves a podcast!
At the moment were still playing with the formula somewhat, so it is a bit rough around the edges...
It goes by the name of Prism Fish, and is pretty much just us discussing whatever we feel like at the time, if you have any interest you can subscribe to it on iTunes or via RSS feed!

Just this past week I had a little bit of panic and drama in my life when my course tutor from University phoned up and told me the folder full of work I had taken in had gone missing.
I went in and searched everywhere but the folder was nowhere to be found, so I had a day to re-do all of the work because the grades had to be sent in the next day.

It was very stressful.

Somehow I managed though and all is right with the world.
It did throw me off balance a little bit and I lost a bit of steam with some of the things that I had been working on, but I'm getting back in to it now.

I've recently decided that I want to start drawing a bit more consistently.
Not in terms of using a more consistent style, but by making sure I draw every day.

I draw quite a lot, but every now and then I can go for quite some time without doing any drawing at all, either because I was distracted by something or I got stuck with a bit of an art block.
I want to start drawing every day no matter what.
Even if its just doodles or tiny sketches, I don't want to go a day without drawing anything at all.

I think this also combats a slight problem I have in that quite often I put off posting on this blog because I feel like I should always have some good drawings to upload along with things I write.

So I'm going to start an art blog, and I'm going to do my damn best to get at least a single drawing on it every day.

That's all I'm going to write about for now, but I will make another post some time soon with a bit more information once I have the idea fully formed in my head.

Until then, have a big pile of sketches and doodles to look at!
A lot of these are really old now, but there are a few more recent ones in there too.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Lovely Brushely

Just a quick post now.
I've just finished up inking this drawing using my brush.
I'm really quite pleased with it.
It's still quite nasty scanner quality here, but I'll do some touching up tomorrow and get it coloured.

I've also got this sketched out ready for me to ink it tomorrow.
I watched the film Tucker & Dale vs Evil a few days ago, which I think has got hillbillies on my mind.
I really enjoy drawing wood grains...

My scanner doesn't do so well with colour either (it really is quite awful) so this has the contrast turned waaay up to make the red lines stand out.

Bed time now I think, got to make my way to the library up at Uni tomorrow.
Its too warm for trains to be enjoyable.